New Jersey’s new medical marijuana law won’t take effect until next year, a last-minute move that has implications for employers with policies concerning employee drug use.
When the Legislature passed the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, it gave the Department of Health and Senior Citizens until Oct. 1 to license six treatment centers to dispense the drug. Now Gov. Chris Christie has asked to delay the law’s implementation to allow the department to develop regulations.
With the state Legislature’s agreement, the medical marijuana law won’t take effect until Jan. 1.
Advice: Take advantage of the delay to ensure your drug-abuse policies are aligned with the new law. If an employee can legally use medical marijuana, how will you enforce your legitimate interest in maintaining a workplace where safety isn’t compromised by intoxicated workers?
You’ll want to consult an attorney. The law itself gives employers very little guidance on how the legality of medical marijuana interacts with employers’ drug and alcohol policies and other laws such as the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act and the ADA.